November 7, 2019

Three essential ways to commit to lifelong learning

Learning is becoming more and more essential as technology and society are evolving and experiencing multiple changes. In order to keep up, it is vital to be aware of the latest developments and put that knowledge into practice to work toward advancement.

As I have mentioned many times before, you can go ahead and pursue a degree and other formal education but it just won’t be enough in the longer term. Informal learning opens new windows of opportunity, teaching us things we can apply in the real world in ways that schools and universities don’t offer.

Likewise, the benefits of lifelong learning are considerable, but one must constantly upskill in order to keep pace on the path to success. Take advantage of the resources that are available to you; don’t pass up opportunities for growth when new approaches to productivity and innovation are presented. With that in mind, the following are three recommended approaches:

Share knowledge with others

Some of you may be in the habit of keeping things to yourself, not sharing information with your peers because you fear they might use it and then take credit for the result. This is human nature and it’s understandable up to a point, but I believe there’s much more that can be achieved through sharing. Teaching others in fact works to your benefit, because you learn things in return and their feedback gives you a chance to test your knowledge as well.

When you teach someone, it doesn’t have to be an academic subject but could be anything, from how to ride a bike to helping someone with their homework or fixing a broken door knob. The point is that doing so allows you to think critically about what you want to impart, in line with the needs and capabilities of the person you are trying to help. Not every method you can think of is right for everyone. You may even discover new ways to work things out using another course of action.

Cultivate people with similar goals

Staying close to people who are working toward similar goals enables you and your business to thrive, as you will keep one another accountable for each other’s development. This doesn’t mean closing yourself off to other people and ideas, but simply means avoiding distractions that may obscure your focus on achieving success. Meeting up on a regular basis builds commitment and fosters a healthy habit that embraces building lifelong skills along with gaining friends who are on similar career paths.

Additionally, it’s important for an organisation to recognise learning itself as an achievement, in order to motivate employees and produce the desired benefits. Learning should have a purpose too, and should be perceived as a reward in itself rather than something obligatory.

Expand your horizons

As a young child, you probably heard your teachers say “expand your horizons”, “reach for the stars”, “the sky is the limit”, and so on. But have you ever wondered what these expressions actually meant? These metaphors usually refer to learning or experiencing something you never have experienced before, and opening yourself up to other possibilities that life has to offer. It could be anything, including travelling, going to new places with new sets of people and cultures — anything and everything other than being stuck in your bubble.

Reaching higher and being open to new experiences will better prepare you for the real world, and will help you become a well-rounded individual, even though it may seem intimidating initially. All in all, it comes down to your desires and what you want out of this learning process.

Lifelong learning also requires patience. Set a timeline where you can plan ahead and envision how things might unfold and when they do, you’ll be able to see the bigger picture of how everything turned out. Then you can take a step back or forward depending on the situation. When things don’t go as planned, there’s no harm in taking a step back to see where you can fix the mistakes so that they don’t reoccur.

Employers in today’s world are seeking people who are able to adapt and are flexible in terms of facing criticism and competitive dynamics. Being able to face and overcome obstacles and challenges makes you push to become even better and more determined on a personal and professional level. We all need to be lifelong learners — aiming high and developing ways to enrich ourselves more.


Arinya Talerngsri is Chief Capability Officer and Managing Director at SEAC – Southeast Asia’s Lifelong Learning Center. She can be reached by email at arinya_t@seasiacenter.com or https://www.linkedin.com/in/arinya-talerngsri-53b81aa. Explore and experience our lifelong learning ecosystem today at https://www.yournextu.com